KSPCB move to hit port's growth, exporters

Our Bureau

Mangalore, July 31

The Association of New Mangalore Port Stevedores has urged the Karnataka Government to withdraw restriction on the shipment of iron ore cargo from the New Mangalore Port.

The association's plea comes in the wake of a directive from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to the New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) in this regard. The KSPCB has asked NMPT not to stack iron ore cargo within the premises of the harbour till the end of September 15.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Mr H.D. Kumaraswamy, the President of the association, Mr Shekar Pujari, said that the stoppage of shipment would affect the livelihood of thousands of people involved in the process. The New Mangalore port is ranked seventh among the major ports in the country as a consequence of increase in iron ore cargo handling.

The letter also said that iron ore exporters have borrowed crores of rupees and invested them in their projects anticipating a progressive growth with full support from the Government. Now the exporters are forced to divert their iron ore cargo through Chennai, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam and Goa ports. This will have a negative impact on the projected growth of NMPT and the revenue of the State, it said.

PROTECTION

Stating that the residential areas are situated far away from the iron ore stackyard within the premises of New Mangalore port, the letter said, "This in no way can pollute the environment and cause harm to the people in the surrounding areas." All measures have been taken to cover the iron ore cargo with tarpaulin. Steps have also been taken to ensure that iron ore stacked in the storage area and the run-off generated thereby does not reach the water bodies or permeate the ground inside the port and the surrounding areas.Sources in NMPT said that a joint meeting of the representatives of the KSPCB, Road Transport Authority and NMPT has decided to allow trucks to the port till the midnight of July 31. The meeting felt that a sudden stop in the movement of cargo from the hinterland would create problems on the road. While imposing a ban on the storage and shipment of iron ore cargo, the KSPCB has permitted shipment of the existing iron ore in the stackyard of the port.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 1, 2006)
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